Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Major 'Celebrity Circus' sponsor, RE/MAX, pulls out in response to protests at Endemol show

Posted: 29 March 2006

Tide of public opinion turns against animal circuses across Europe

The major sponsor behind Endemol’s latest reality TV show, real estate giant RE/MAX International, has just cancelled its sponsorship of the celebrity circus programme following ADI and local group ANIMAL´s protests and appeals. The company said that it did not realise what it was sponsoring at first, but it is now dropping its sponsorship of the new show which features celebrities working with circus animals.

Jan Creamer, chief executive of ADI, said: “In the same week that Scotland has followed the UK with a ban of wild animals in circuses and ADI is launching a circus campaign in Greece, we see RE/MAX’s action as further evidence of a bandwagon of public opinion against animals in circuses sweeping across Europe. In the UK alone, 99 MPs have now pledged their support for a total ban.”

ADI has learnt that when the pilot was first aired on Portuguese TV, the animals in the programme looked scared and nervous. Elephants, horses and lions displayed obvious signs of anxiety. Circus owner, Victor Hugo Cardinali, threatened the lions with his whip and a pole but could not overtly hit them in front of the cameras, sending mixed messages to the animals. Getting little response, Victor Hugo became more and more agitated and screamed and threatened the lions with his whip and jabbed them with the pole to make them perform. The presenter of the show Julia Pinheiro, commented how one of the lions had urinated – out of fear.

The second programme on the following day showed celebrities near the animals, who reacted by bobbing their heads and swaying - classic signs of stereotypic behaviour - to show how distressed and affected they were.

Jan Creamer added: “No doubt it was the first two programmes that persuaded RE/MAX International to pull out, as the animals were obviously frightened and upset. The campaign video we launched in Portugal last October in a bid to end animals in circuses there, included clips of the same circus owner in the show, being violent to his elephants. This is why we are appalled that Endemol has gone ahead with this tragic new reality TV concept.”

The sponsor, who pulled out, RE/MAX International, is the leading residential real estate network in Canada and has an international network of more than 114,000 agents in 6,150 independently owned and operated offices worldwide in more than 60 countries. RE/MAX Europe is currently operating in 29 countries, which consist of 42 regions. RE/MAX offers a variety of real estate and relocation services and sponsors community involvement at all levels including wildlife conservation.

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